Our verse for today comes from Genesis 39:1, ” Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. “
The story of Joseph in the Old Testament is probably my favorite one from the Bible. I never grow tired of reading how he went through one trial after another, a victim of the people and circumstances around him, yet he never wavered in his faith and devotion to the Lord. From the bottom of a pit, to the possession of the Ishmaelites as merchandise, to the life of a slave to Potiphar, and as a prisoner in a jail in Egypt, Joseph experienced enough despair and defeat for two lifetimes. No matter what he did, he seemed to be reaping what everyone else was sowing, the victim of others’ ill will. But in the midst of each setback, each turn for the worse, Joseph never lost heart. Every time he went down, down into the pit, or down to Egypt, or down to the confines of the jail, God was right there with him, carrying out His plan.
So, when my buddy asked me how things were going at work, and I explained to him how I feel like I’m drowning, always behind and sinking more and more, it didn’t take me long to remember Joseph and his dilemmas. And what I saw in Joseph was God lifting him up from the brink of going completely under, simply because Joseph was willing for God to bring him back up wherever He wanted him. When Joseph went down in a pit at the hands of his brothers, God wanted him to be sold to some travelers. When they sold him as a slave, God wanted him to run the entire estate of his master. When he was thrown in jail, God wanted him to bless Pharaoh’s employee and get released from his sentence. And as the ruler under Pharaoh’s authority, God wanted Joseph to deliver his family from the famine and see the beginning of the history of God’s people. Joseph must have felt like he was drowning time and time again. But he didn’t think God had abandoned him. He knew that trusting God didn’t guarantee an easy life, it only meant that God went down in the pit with you. It means that God would lift you up when you let Him say when and where. I’ve got to believe that, no matter how deep the pit. And you should, too, whether you’re on your way up, or down.
As we seek Him today, remember that we are supposed to live by faith. We don’t just talk about faith, or hear about it in church, or show it on occasion. We should live by it.